Providers will face significant time pressures as they attempt to attest to Stage 2 of the meaningful use program.

Some relaxation of requirements will help, but hospitals and eligible professionals that haven’t made sufficient efforts to prepare for Stage 2 attestation will be pressed for time, said CIO policy specialists at the CHIME15 Fall CIO Forum.

For an EHR reporting period in 2015, all Medicare providers must attest between Jan. 4, 2016, and Feb. 29, 2016. While the reporting period has been shortened to 90 days, providers that haven’t prepared will have trouble gathering information for the needed reporting requirements because the final quarter for the calendar year started on October 1.

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That even applies to measures that have been relaxed, said Pam McNutt, senior vice president and CIO at Methodist Hospital System, Dallas. For example, the measure stipulating the transitions of care document has maintained the requirement at 10 percent, but the definition of how these documents can be transmitted electronically has been relaxed, McNutt said.

“That does give you some ability to be creative” in determining the percentage of documents transmitted electronically, she said. But attesting to the relaxed requirements will require additional effort for providers. “We’re scrambling on this one ourselves, because the last (90-day) reporting period has started,” McNutt said.

Final Stage 3 requirements will be difficult for providers because they require a 365-day reporting period, and those will make it harder to achieve more difficult measures.

Further analysis by CHIME has found the most difficult measures for Stage 3 to include:

* A 10 percent patient engagement threshold, which includes the use of APIs.

* The required inclusion of patient-generated data or information from non-clinical settings.

* An increase in the transitions of care threshold

* Required reporting on six public health measures, including bidirectional reporting with immunization registries.

In addition, actions used to meet Stage 3 measures must be electronic; paper-based methods will not suffice. Clinical quality measures can be reported by attestation in 2017, but electronic submission will be required starting in 2018, said Liz Johnson, chief information officer of acute care hospitals for Tenet Healthcare.

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